This and that, everything including the kitchen sink.

Miniature Merry Men

No craft room work today, I had to take care of an outside problem in a hurry. Years ago I and my trusty assistant built a free standing fence to enclose my area a little bit for various reasons. Unfortunately the manager we have now tries to be a bully and since I stand up to him, he does his best to get me evicted. Suddenly my fence had to come down.

If you follow me you know I have a lot of disabilities. I’m bedridden a lot. But I decided I would do what I could. Patrick, who is eleven is my side-kick. He’s mildly autistic and so are my daughter and I, so I think maybe that’s why we bond. He loves my cats, which they reciprocate, and is always there if I need help getting my groceries in or hauling the vacuum around. He really makes my life easier.

So I waited until he was out of school, then together we took down the fence. It took some muscle…all on his side, but down it came. Then I needed to get the area that had been inside of the fence cleaned up. A group of younger boys came to watch, and they happily charged into help. I had a kiddie pool full of wet dirt that had been my garden, that had to be shoveled out, the pool disposed of and the dirt shoveled back. These kids are all about nine or younger, I don’t think the youngest is even in school. One little guy said “it takes teamwork” and they loved that idea. They carried heavy garden bricks, picked up trash and when I tackled a small tree that had sprung up from the cherry tree (horrible roots grow yards and yards away) we all took turns at sawing it down. I could only saw for a few minutes because we were trying to get it as short as possible. That little shoot was incredibly tough and refused to break. And granted, the little guys aren’t the best at sawing in the world, but they were enthusiastic. We all took turns and got the job done. I dispensed popsickles as the day had turned warm. Instead of the rainy day forecast, all we got were a few drops of rain no one minded and a beautiful day. My body, which tries to pass out if I just bend over, didn’t make me dizzy at all. Instead I had a wonderful time out in the air with the kids, although I mainly supervised, I did more than is normally possible.

So instead of causing me trouble, I had a good day with some very sweet and tough little boys and memories I’ll never forget. Then they ran off to play, oh to have that energy again! I let their parents know how grateful and wonderful their little guys are and I’m going to make them each a handmade card as one of the team. I haven’t been around little boys much in my life, they are certainly different than girls. But if these little guys grow up into the men they promise to now, I have hope for the future.

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Now my kitchen is done, I’m off and running on my studio/craftroom/office. It’s the last room to not have been organized at all since I moved here. Everything without a place has managed to migrate to this standard size bedroom.

First I had to collect all my empty organizing containers. I had a few…

That’s a long table stacked high underneath too, plus more on the bed and some elsewhere.

That pretty well filled up my bedroom and bathroom counters. You could probably guess I had been a hoarder by all the organizers. No, you will not find one which will magically make your mess leap into it and be organized. I know because I certainly tried!

Organizing so I could get organized took up most of day one. Had to sleep on my lumpy couch because the bed was full. Next day, I picked up all the trash and moved out everything that I could see that didn’t belong there.

Like my clean laundry. Wondered where that shirt was. Oh look, another empty organizer. A board that was a shelf when it was still a bedroom. Those tubs are full of leather and fur.
Blocking the closet, more empties and misc. stuff. Mostly things that needed to go back in the closet. When I finally got to the closet, I discovered that was where most of the empties had been stored. I had closet space!! Not much, but I’ll take it!
My newly discovered closet space!

I read you should start at the door and move around the room clockwise. Mostly just a place to start so you don’t just stand there like a deer blinded in the headlights. Hey, it worked! So next I moved to the desk area.

I can’t really show you the space in front of the desk, because there wasn’t enough room to take a picture. It was mainly a chair with stuff piled behind it so I couldn’t move it back. However, this is what was on the other side of the chair.

I have gift wrap in the closet too. I don’t have little kids to give to all that often, so it never gets used up. Then I find something cute that I know they will love so I buy that. Time to purge! My sewing machine has been there almost a year, since I had nowhere else I could use it at the time. Some bags of newspaper for paper mache, which should go on the bottom shelf, but is blocked by all the stuff in front of it.
This was directly behind my chair, blocking the shelves. It’s on wheels, but there was stuff stacked around it on all sides, I couldn’t even get a picture, but you get the idea.

My main goal for that day was to get stuff off the floor so I could move, fast and dirty.

Room to move!
Still too tight a squeeze, but at least it’s better. I don’t knock something over every time I move.

Then, though I was pretty tired and it was really late, I decided to really feel good I should clear the desk. This is one of those things that make me happy.

By the time I finished the sun had come up!

Well, I’m up to date now. My fibro stuck me in bed the next day, so I cleaned up in the bedroom. Yup, still full of boxes, but at least I uncovered enough room to sleep.

Now I have a nice clear desk to sort out the boxes on. I haven’t been in some of those totes for over a year. Time to meet old friends and pass on whatever I’m not going to use.

Yes, I finally got it done. I’m beyond happy with it! I thought about it a lot and my kitchen is now workable even with my disabilities. I cook more, have no problem keeping it clean and every time I walk in there it makes me happy.

This was supposed to be my before and after pictures, but when my computer crashed it evidently took most of my before pictures. It was a fairly typical hoarder mess. All horizontal surfaces stacked high. Spoiling food, dirty dishes, expired food, a bare minimum of organization. It literally hurt to clean. I rarely cooked anything more than a frozen pot pie in the microwave.  I ate a lot of junk food because I was immobile and depressed. That put on even more pounds which continued the vicious cycle.

If you’ve been following me you know I finally had enough and called organizer Julie Starr Hook and her helper David Peters. My life changed forever. If this was a book, I would dedicate it to them.

So up at the top is my clean kitchen ala flamingos. Now lets head on in.

Look Mom, kitchen counters! Dishes done, counters clear, flamingos, I know Mom is smiling down at me. And see Mom, I still have your teacups.
My Yard Flamingo wading through a bucket of flowers.
If I’m working in the kitchen, Majyk loves to supervise from this stool.
BEFORE I thought this was ok, but everything slid around and the drawer was always getting stuck.
AFTER Holds more and makes me smile
BEFORE Sack drawer. Needs tidying. Or something.
AFTER My snack drawer. Now also my mixer drawer
BEFORE Kind of a catch all drawer.
AFTER Now holds my plastic silverware, cookie cutters and straws.
BEFORE Pretty sure this drawer needs some sorting. It still has hot mats from the 70’s
AFTER Most of the previous drawer ended up in the rag bag.
BEFORE Usually had empty grocery bags too. Fire hazard anyone?
AFTER There is a largish space behind the stove that things fall down, so I made a shelf. Just added hibiscus duck tape to make it pretty for my tea tins to sit on.
No before picture, it was just an over crowded ugly cupboard. Still need to label all the containers.
BEFORE Tupperware clone graveyard. It’s at the wrong level for me, so when things get pushed to the back, they are virtually lost. The cabinet runs all the way to the corner, you have to crawl in the cabinet to access it. All attempts to make it useful failed.
This was actually sold as a cat litter box. It fits great on that shelf and works as a drawer.
AFTER I purged a lot, I couldn’t get to the containers anyway. The rest went in bins. One bin is full of lids. That back corner you can’t reach into? Empty.
BEFORE Knife drawer. I think they mate in here. Like wire clothes hangers used to.
Since things didn’t lie flat the drawer stuck all the time.
AFTER I moved some out, threw some away and now my drawer shuts and I can find things.
BEFORE Another space that didn’t work for me, even when I got it organized it didn’t stay that way. Bending over and lifting all those pots and pans to get to the one I needed was literally a pain.
AFTER The lids fit neatly into the bin, the frying pans, which I use the most, are on corner racks behind, easy to reach which one I need. That fluffy white thing isn’t a dust bunny, it’s Willetta supervising.
This was just a two shelf mug cupboard. The extra shelf was clumsy and made the top shelf too high to reach. I use mainly water bottles because the cats can’t get into them and they were a pain to store. Those pink holders are book bins. They also work in corners to make stacking shelves.
BEFORE Really, really hard to get into so I barely used it
AFTER I actually relocated things I had to store in other parts of the house to store in here. Bins make them accessible and they are things I don’t use that often.
BEFORE The cabinets sit too low for my counter top dishwasher to fit, so I keep it on this super ugly but useful medical cart. Here it is waiting to be painted. It looks much better in the picture than in real life.
AFTER It didn’t turn out great, but it is better. It’s the same pink as the rest of my decor, it just photographed orange. Another garden flamingo has come to roost. When my cart is finished it will have shelves inside. I keep my plastic wrap and tinfoil and zip lock bags in the drawers. Oddly enough, spraying it hot pink made it blend in better.

So that’s it for the Kitchen Reveal Tour. Almost everything pink was purchased at the Dollar Tree. One section of the apartment done to my specifications and I LOVE it! As time goes on it will be fine tuned a bit more, but it makes me very happy.

The End of the Hoard

Hummmm, I seem to have a bunch of posts I never published, so did that. Still not hoarding, but it took me all 2018 to deal with the hoard between my ears. I still have a disorganized mess from being too sick to deal with it, which I am now addressing.

I’ve changed my life in so many ways. No more out of date groceries, my fridge is full of fresh fruit, yogurt and healthy things. I’m still a sugar addict, but it’s much more controlled. I’m actually losing weight, albeit very slowly, since I can’t really exercise. But I’m working on that too.

For the most part, what I have left are things I want to keep. Time to organize. I LOVE organizing, just hate cleaning and get overwhelmed. The kitchen hadn’t been purged much since Julie and David hit it in the beginning, there were dishes everywhere, some still unpacked. I hated cooking in it, too much in the way. I’ve had to rethink even how to shop to deal with my fibro.

So I decided to take my kitchen clean in 15 minute chunks. Every day I had to do 15 minutes, even if I had to take it 5 minutes at a time. I finished one unit of time, I started on my next 15 minutes, until today, I’m on the home stretch! In between typing, I’m organizing. Stay tuned for the big reveal.

I’d say we purged at least half the kitchen when I first started this. One problem was I had a ridiculous amount of plastic storage containers. Some were for kitchen storage, some I bought for studio storage but they never got there. Some were tossed but we didn’t know which ones so the lids were still stored. My large under counter space was packed full because I couldn’t find what I needed so bought more. Time to fix that!

I rewarded myself by actually buying some kitchen things from the Dollar Tree. I’d decided I needed a pop of color, I keep things neat much better if my cupboards are pretty. After much thought, I settled on a cute and kitschy kitchen flamingo theme. In the past I would have bought the decorations and storage tools and then never use them, adding them to the mess. This time I thought about what I needed to keep the fridge organized. I bought some locker bins in apple green and bright pink. They made me very happy and motivated me,  especially as I was now eating better and wasting a lot less food. So I bought some hot pink organizers and they made me happy too. Game on!

First I pulled everything out of my drawer.  I’d bought a few organizers so I filled those up and measured to see how many more I needed and what size. I bought just enough to fill that drawer and start on the next one. I’m buying almost all of this stuff at the Dollar Tree, so I’m not breaking the bank. Doing one section at a time kept me from feeling too overwhelmed. In the past I would haul everything out then that would intimidate me and just add to the mess. Using the stove was out of the question because my last round of the grocery store had wiped me out and the stuff was left on the stove top. Talk about a fire hazard! Also, Majyk would snag things off the counter and cart them to other rooms to eat thus upsetting his tummy and causing more disgusting messes to clean up. I hate the cats getting on my counters but all that food and mess lured them every time. Hard to break your pets (or family) in that situation.

Time to do another section.

Well, I kept working on it and finally got it done. Stay tuned for the reveal.

 

 

A Year Later…

A year ago, I felt I was finally through hoarding. My brain was rewired, my apartment was clean, I could move on with my life, right?

Well, I’m happy to say, I WAS done hoarding. I have new voices in my head. A Julie voice that reminds me I don’t need something if I’m not going to use it right away and don’t have a place for it. I used to hit the dollar store and buy $20 of retail therapy.  No more. While my place is still more cluttered than I’d like, I haven’t added much. This made room in my budget for things I really want or need. I still call in Julie and David when I need to. The sewing space turned out to be a loaded subject, I got efficient, dug out all the fabric totes, folded and organized into clear totes. I had put up a table in the livingroom and gone at it happily and felt sooo good about it! But then, they sat. I spent hours on Pintrest happily researching sewing rooms. I organized my ribbons and trims. I got rid of about another tote-full of stuff that I decided I really didn’t want to deal with. Home free, right?

Um, no. I was having health problems and the idea of heaving those heavy totes back up on the shelves seemed way too much effort. The livingroom stayed cluttered for a month. Then another month. You get the picture, I was overwhelmed again. It was just too much. I called in Julie. Julie always makes me feel so much better, so much more competent. We’ve become great friends outside of the busness end of the deal. She’s such an upbeat, positive person to be around! Not to mention efficient, sure enough, she got me squared away. My sewing area was still very cluttered and she hit that like a tornado. For the first time I could see the “bones” of the area. My fabric, still in clear totes, is stacked neatly in my “staging” area. My sewing table is out of the way so I can easily move around in the small area. Now I could get a clearer idea of what I want to do. Since it’s part of the kitchen, I also find myself more interested in keeping my dishes done, although I admit I still have a ways to go!

My studio is still cluttered but usable. Since I’m working on the other areas, I’m not in there as much as I’d like. When I get up in the morning, totter into my studio, sit down and work on my bullett journal, it starts the day off right. At the end of the day, I’m back in there again, filling out what I acomplished. The days I can do that go much better. I’m still too easily sidetracked by things, like the livingroom full of fabric. I have too many ideas and too little energy and health. Cleaning looms large and threatening still. However, the reality is it doesn’t take all that much time now. I HAVE put into use good new habits, even though I tend to focus on what I don’t get done. I take note of how long it actually took to get a load of dishes in, instead of how much time I feel it took me. When I walk into my bathroom to discover my sick kitty has made quite a mess, I just want to dive under my covers and ignore it. Now I can remember that, while I may have to do it in ten minute shifts, it is doable.  I have better ways to deal with the pain, and before tackling a tough spot, I take my meds. Every load of dishes I do is a win. Every cat box emptied, every square foot of mopped space. Every item I realize I no longer need or want that goes out the door. Every thing that stays in the store instead of coming home to sit in a pile to be used “someday”. Wins. High five!

I sincerely meant to keep this blog going during the deprograming of my hoarding, but there was just sooo many things to deal with on several different levels. I’m not as far along as I would like to be, but then, I never am. I’ve made the resolution to get back to blogging and show what is going on in the hopes it helps keep me on track. Kind of a virtual friend to talk things over with. And hopefully, some actual human friends can keep track of my progress. Please leave a comment, it gets lonely out here in cyberspace!

 

Sewing Room Evolution

Well, after a year of working on it off and on, my sewing space is ready to be useful. It’s just in the dining area space of my kitchen so organization is crucial. Up until recently it was full of stuff. I had wonderful pictures of the mess it was in, but sadly Windows 10 had a known glitch and it trashed my hard drive. Just imagine this space piled high, then imagine it even worse and you might possibly get close to how much stuff was in there. Most the fabric was in totes on shelves in another room. I used to have a large storage space filled to the ceiling with totes full of fabric. Since I dehoarded last year, I now only have 4 1/2 totes full. I’m pretty sure I moved away from home the first time with more fabric than that! Some people are going to love my donations at Goodwill!

The sewing area was my last big area to get cleaned and organized. For whatever reason, it was extremely difficult to do. I finally called Julie from 5 Starr Organizing back in to bail me out, and now I have a clear space! It’s such a small space I can’t get far enough back to get a picture of the whole thing at once, but as I go I can show you before and after photos of specific areas.

I’ve been thinking about how I wanted this space to be. I wanted it girlie but functional. Sewing and cats go together so it’s going to have my feline tchotchkes. Going on the fabric I already had, I set up a pin board covered in a nice periwinkle chambray. I love that color and thought it would look nice with a soft yellow. Good! Made that decision! Except…

As the months went on, I realized that as pretty as those colors are together, they aren’t ME. I’m getting better at figuring out what I like and that wasn’t sparking joy. I cruise Fabric.com for entertainment. I can spend hours on there. I don’t buy much, but if I’m still crazy for the fabric months later and can think how I want to use it, I’ll go for it. I have my eye on some gauze with peacock feathers on it, two things I love in one. Anyway, I keep checking on it, and this time they had a new line called Cat-it-tude. Instant love. I love the whole line. I could immediately imagine my sewing area graced by the gorgeous fabics.

Cat-I-tude Catitude 24" Panel Metallic White/MultiCat-I-tude 24" Panel Black/MultiIn both white and black!!! Sooo in love! Here’s the link to the collection for any other fabriholics.  Believe me, ALL my friends have seen this and they all think it’s perfect for me. I immediately decided to splurge and buy as much of this as I need. I hope it stays in stock for a couple of years so I can afford it all.

When I find something that clicks with me, I go crazy with ideas. I could see my cheap bookcase painted with the inside back decopauged in one of the prints. I hadn’t even considered painting my bookcase before. My pin board will be covered with a more subtle but color matching pattern. The office chair will be covered in the Aristocats in black with a white ruffle in the Hearts and Cats print. I can hardly wait!

I even designed a duster to wear over my gym gear. I really, really like this fabric, can you tell?

 

Calliope-Wiggle Tummy

tummy2After her death defying leap from a second story window, scaring me half to death, eating a can of tuna plus almost a whole big can of catfood, Calliope is snoozing. No wild party going on tonight, just a few wiggles. Calliope is calm, I am not.  I want those kittens to be born!

princessThe Princess is getting tired of playing second fiddle to our house guest. She remains sweet to Calliope, but after the stressful fuss today she made a point of insinuating herself between us. It’s her job, she reminded me, to oversee my welfare. Such a fuss over a silly little kitten.

She has no idea what it’s going to be like when the babies arrive. I haven’t had kittens for over a year. I’ve never had a pregnant cat since she was born. Still, she knows to be kind.

She leans full length against my body and presses her cheek next to mine. She reminds  me just how special she is and how much she loves me.

Each cat has it’s own time with me during the day. Usually at least three cats are within reach, if not actually on me or touching me. I think they have an invisible schedule up somewhere.